To own or apply knowledge
This is a LinkedIn favourite. Click-bait, guaranteed to provoke reaction. It is an ever-valid discussion to return to. In my consulting discussions the debate of demonstrating qualified staff or experience in role is equally divisive. But I have no doubt, experience counts.
PART 2 of this blog will perhaps revisit some past threads of discussion. For now however, I simply want to demonstrate what I think is really being asked. For me this is simply the difference between having and being.
I have blogged about having vs being before. Links will appear at the bottom of this post. Nothing here is new. Dave Snowden regularly speaks of people relying on form when it is process that counts. John Vervaeke runs regular YouTube dialogue presenting these differences as contributors to the meaning crisis.
From a knowledge perspective we can consider this as the difference between acquired and applied learning. In those terms it perhaps becomes self-evident what the difference between qualification and experience reflects. But I will elaborate for clarity.
This can be explained across the categories of visibility | behaviour | trust (v|b|t).
Qualifications v | b | t
visibility | b | t
High visibility. But only visibility of potential. Measurable as standardised evidence to demonstrate that a core knowledge has been achieved. Employers can advertise expectations in standardised language for all potential candidates to self-select against. It also presents benchmarks to aim toward. At the heart of the visibility is the question “is this particular example of human form able to contribute to our process?” In this regard the qualification presents an attribute – a speculative possibility.
v | behaviour | t
Them and us behaviour. This is having mode. Ownership. To have a degree certificate is to own a qualification. To be Associate or Fellow qualified in a professional capacity is to have achieved a demonstration of learning in your craft. This is to have. This is form. It is a material representation of attaining a learning from an institution. It is something that has been acquired. By the application of personal resources of time and money towards gaining something others have offered you as an exchange. The conclusion of which is a necessary demonstration that this acquisition has been successful. A confirmation is awarded based on a manner of pre-determined examination of your account or recall.
v | b | trust
Them and us, as credibility. Trust is inherently placed in the hands of a third-party. These are institutions of learning, academically or otherwise accredited. It thereby increases distance between candidate and employer; prospective service provider and customer. At scale this is organisational accreditation or licence to operate. But such certifications are also an enabler of the defensive decision-maker. Lowering the necessary skill-base of the assessor; reducing decision parameters; optimising short-lists. This trust is assumed. It is therefore fragile, rigid to the framework it reflects, standardised, and potentially subject to abuse.
Experience v | b | t
visibility | b | t
High visibility. Measurable in years, or reputation, or demonstrable by tangible success. Success measurable by metrics of application not acquisition.
v | behaviour | t
Applied know-how is able to be demonstrated. Learning whilst doing and understanding of contextual application in action and deeds. Contextually relevant is therefore more detailed in explanation and demonstration. It can command more respect simply because it is the being part of the process, not simply representing the potential to be.
v | b | trust
A closer approximation of fit to role is possible. It requires a greater ability to share a trust. A trust can be built based upon shared understanding of process. Abstraction by both parties (e.g. employer and employee) who can better empathise with the other, having better modelling in mind of what the process they share as intentions, requires of the other.
A practical example of having or owning knowledge vs applying it
I conclude with a further example of the limited visibility that owned knowledge represents. This is day 643 of lockdown in Casa Beardall. Undoubtedly now my most intense era of knowledge acquisition. One MSc completed, and another underway. Owned knowledge by qualification. But my owned knowledge is accumulating by another metric – by the volume of literature I have acquired. This last 12 months, the calendar year of 2021, I have spent over £1,000 on books. I have accounted for them all. They are listed in the table below. I can claim to have read them all. I do claim to have read most. But all you can seek as validation is visibility e.g., evidence that I physically own them.
Some of these books have been heavy reading. Some almost impenetrable (Kant or more recently Heidegger). Some of the books are just a guide to others. The point is who is to know if I have read them, let alone understood them. But even if I sit an exam to demonstrate an understanding of them, it has no reflection on whether I can apply them to anything meaningful to you or anything worldly at all.
A book seems to me the perfect metaphor as a simplification of this debate. Anyone can own a book. Have this knowledge to hand. It is a literal form of knowledge. But to apply knowledge is to not have it to hand. It is to have it abstractly available in mind. And thereby find means to apply it to something new.
In the zoom age these displays are everywhere. Bookshelves strategically located behind camera shots. Mine included. The academic class more guilty than most. Other than perhaps politicians.
We can display all, but in the end it is application that counts. And experience is the easiest representation of that.
I will conclude the crassness with the following table. Hubris on show.
Having or Being | Form or Process | Acquired or Applied?
A list of books purchased in 2021. A gratuitous display. That demonstrates more of my commitment to charities vs publishers, than it does to how the content may be applied.
|£803.70||Subtotal from Oxfam|
|£29.99||Historical Sociology and World History||o51****|
|£27.07||What is ancient philosophy?||amazon|
|£24.99||Language and Social Relations||o50****|
|£20.00||Jungian psychoanalysis: Working in the Spirit of Carl Jung||o38****|
|£20.00||Conjectures and Refutations by Karl Popper||o51****|
|£20.00||William James and the transatlantic conversation||o44****|
|£19.99||Social Psychology — 8th Edition||o65****|
|£19.99||Psychology and Alchemy||o38****|
|£19.99||History of Western Philosophy – Bertrand Russell||o51****|
|£19.99||what causes human behaviour – stars, selves or contingencies?||o61****|
|£19.33||Essays of Francis Bacon||amazon|
|£16.48||Karl Jaspers : The origin and goal of history||amazon|
|£15.99||Kants Critique of Practical Reason||o46****|
|£15.00||Representing and Intervening||o51****|
|£15.00||Short History Of The Communist Party Of The Soviet Union||o44****|
|£15.00||ETHIC of Benedict de Spinoza: Demonstrated in Geometrical Order||o44****|
|£14.99||Principles of Brain Dynamics Global State Interactions||o38****|
|£14.99||Summa Theologica – Volume 17: Psychology of Human Acts||o33****|
|£14.99||Existentialism and Humanism||o33****|
|£14.99||Leibniz: Nature and Freedom||o51****|
|£14.99||The Psychology of Politics||o61****|
|£14.99||The human use of human beings||o61****|
|£14.99||The Philosophy of David Hume||o45****|
|£14.99||The Freud Jung Letters||o50****|
|£14.99||Kant’s Critique of pure reason; translated by Norman Kemp Smith||o45****|
|£14.99||Will Hutton – Them and Us – Signed First Edition||o44****|
|£14.99||Newman on the Psychology of Faith in the Individual ||o44****|
|£14.99||An Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Second Edition||o44****|
|£14.99||Joseph Campell’s selected letters 1927-1987||amazon|
|£14.50||Josepeh Campbell’s hero with a thousand faces||amazon|
|£14.02||Joseph Campbell’s pathways to bliss||amazon|
|£13.99||Being and time||o44****|
|£13.66||Your Leadership Legacy : becoming the leader you were meant to be||amazon|
|£13.62||Tales from two sides of the brain||amazon|
|£12.99||Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition||o46****|
|£12.99||1177 BCE : the year civisation collapsed||amazon|
|£12.95||Explaining the Brain||o44****|
|£12.15||Bandit Capitalism : Carillion||amazon|
|£12.00||Complex/Archetype/Symbol in the Psychology of C.G. Jung||o33****|
|£11.98||The goal of philosophy||amazon|
|£11.63||The conciousness instinct||amazon|
|£10.99||Freedom and belief||o38****|
|£10.99||The Essential James Hillman: A blue fire||o44****|
|£10.00||The Problems of Philosophy||o33****|
|£10.00||The Self and Its Brain: An Argument for Interactionism||o51****|
|£10.00||Statistics for psychology||o44****|
|£9.99||Analyzing Social Science Data||o65****|
|£9.99||Ego & Archetype||o38****|
|£9.99||Coleridge’s Works – Aids to Reflection – published in 1890||o51****|
|£8.99||Buddhismwithout belief : a contemporary guide to awakening||amazon|
|£8.96||Applying AI to Project Management||amazon|
|£8.75||How the Project Management Office can use AI to imporve the bottom line||amazon|
|£8.44||Gods in Everyman : a new psychology of man’s lives and loves||amazon|
|£8.00||The structure of scientific revolutions||o46****|
|£8.00||Routledge philosophy guidebook to Kant and the Critique of pure reason||o44****|
|£7.99||The Story of Civilization. Rousseau and Revolution 10. The Protestant North||o46****|
|£7.99||Chomsky’s Reflection on Language||o46****|
|£7.99||The Conscious Mind In Search of a Fundamental Theory||o38****|
|£7.99||The Poetical Works of Shelley||o45****|
|£7.99||The desert fathers :sayings of the early christian monks||amazon|
|£7.78||Who’s in Charge?||amazon|
|£7.50||Mind and cosmos||o51****|
|£7.49||The Vision of Judgment and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Cantos III & IV||o51****|
|£7.49||Existential Analysis 11.2,12.1 & 13.1||o50****|
|£7.19||The Human Side of Managing Technological Innovation||o46****|
|£7.00||Time – Rhythm and Repose||o38****|
|£7.00||The House at Pooh Corner||o33****|
|£7.00||Mapping The Mind||o44****|
|£6.99||Foundations of Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry||o46****|
|£6.99||The Neurotic Personality of Our Time||o46****|
|£6.99||An Essay concerning Human Understanding||o45****|
|£6.99||Early Christian writing : the apostellic fathers||amazon|
|£6.71||Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophy||amazon|
|£5.99||The Shakespeare Classics: The Taming Of A Shrew||o33****|
|£5.99||Critique of the Power of Judgment (2008)||o51****|
|£5.00||Mapping the Mind||o51****|
|£4.99||Social Psychology: A Study of Human Interaction (1965)||o65****|
|£4.99||Two treatises of government||o46****|
|£4.99||Rousseau’s Political Writings||o45****|
|£4.99||An enquiry concerning human understanding||o45****|
|£4.99||Freedom Evolves, Daniel C. Dennett, Penguin Paperback||o44****|
|£4.84||Plato : The Republic||amazon|
|£3.99||Understanding the Self-Ego Relationship in Clinical Practice||o51****|
|£3.99||Mind Watching: Why We Behave the Way We Do||o61****|
|£3.99||The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and the Mind||o45****|
|£3.99||The village effect||o44****|
|£2.99||The emerald tablet of Hermes||amazon|
|£2.49||The Science of Passionate Interests: … Tarde’s Economic Anthropology||o51****|
|£2.49||The measure of all things||o51****|
In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.